Carlos Alcaraz wins the US Open 2022, his first major title in his career. After a second week topped off with three long matches, the Spanish champion manages to avoid the fifth set with Casper Ruud. Which obviously remains empty-handed but closes with few complaints.
Despite a good performance, and a decidedly unloaded opponent, Ruud does not find, as expected, weapons that are sufficiently valid to break the balance. Although he basically seems to be in control of the matter in the third set and he doesn't use two balls to go 2-1.
After an incredibly negative tie break, the Norwegian gives way to Alcaraz. And the decisive paw on 4-2 proves decisive for the 6-4 2-6 7-6 (1) 6-3 that he matures after just under three hours of play and that has an ace as icing on the cake.
Alcaraz rewrites the history of tennis, becomes the 28th number one of the Open Era (the fourth Spanish after Nadal, Ferrero and Moya) and completely breaks the logic of a sport that was used to something else. Quality and intensity obviously travel along parallel lines, with tension driving both in the early stages of the match.
Ruud cancels a break point at the start, the same fate for Alcaraz who, however, needs to recover from 15-40 in the first serving. Thanks to a rather gross flight error on 15-30. The Spaniard, who still breaks the balance in the heart of the set and who often and willingly shows up near the net, keeps the advantage with a certain ease and puts his head forward.
Ruud makes some small improvements to the tactical plan. Aware of the dynamics and above all of the available chance. Alcaraz, however, takes a little breath and lets the shots go in a much less fluid way. The Norwegian takes advantage of it at 3-2, keeps his serve in the most delicate moment - despite a 40-40 to face - and above all takes advantage of some unhappy tactical choices by Alcaraz, who evidently conditioned by fatigue also tries in some way to limit the number prolonged exchanges with the short ball.
The 6-2 is basically a logical consequence. Ready, go, Alcaraz splashes on 0-40. Ruud saves himself with two intelligent passers-by in the first two cases, but reads Alcaraz's short ball at 0-40 with a pinch of delay and with the backhand advancing he can only caress the ball.
The Spaniard, who with a minimum of enthusiasm manages to put his head forward, immediately squanders the advantage and returns to the victim of fatigue and above all indecision, finds himself traveling 'on serve' with the disadvantage of serving to remain in the set on 4- 5 and on 5-6.
In the tenth game he travels at rather high speeds, while at the foot of the decisive game he leaves the lungoline wide open for Ruud who does not let himself be begged. Alcaraz cancels the two break points that he makes available with two rather courageous adventures with his nose on the net and with the best point of the game, on the fifth useful opportunity, he hooks the 6-6.
After an ace, Ruud plays a simply disastrous tie break. Alcaraz, who continually teases the left diagonal with the forehand, with a partial score of seven consecutive points drives out all the demons of a very complicated fraction and returns to lead.
The fourth set is more linear, with Alcaraz even allowing himself the luxury of three aces in a row at 2-2. Ruud, who still sticks to the game, begins to falter when Alcaraz increases the speed of his shots from the baseline.
The Spaniard gets the first break point of the set at 3-2 and does not miss the chance. The rest is a completely necessary side dish, with Ruud totally at the mercy of circumstances who basically has time only to move the score on another occasion.